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  • Housing Survey Shows Consumer Attitudes Demonstrative of Macroeconomic Indicators

    9:14 am on July 12, 2012 | Comments:0
    Tags: business outlook, consumer confidence, ,   Filed under: Agent advice, Consumer news and advice, economy, Federal Goverment, FHA, Home owner information, Housing Market, Real Estate Trends, Seller Info

    By Pete Bakel

    Housing market confidence among Americans continues to trend in a positive direction despite stalling optimism about the economy and personal finances, according to results from Fannie Mae’s June 2012 National Housing Survey. Results indicate flattening economic trends may be contributing to waning consumer expectations about their personal financial situation. Nevertheless, Americans’ continued positive sentiment about housing appears to remain buoyed by low house prices and interest rates at historically low levels.

    “While consumers remain cautious about the general economy, their attitudes toward the housing market continue to improve,” says Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist of Fannie Mae. “Although this positive trend may be short-lived if the general economy falters, one might ask whether consumers are increasingly seeing the current environment as a unique opportunity to buy a home while home prices remain depressed, rental costs are increasing, and interest rates are near historic lows.”

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  • Consumer Spending Positive, Despite Slow Income Growth

    9:35 am on April 26, 2012 | Comments:0
    Tags: , consumer confidence, ,   Filed under: Buyer Info, Consumer news and advice, economy, Statistics, The Economy

    By Pete Bakel

    Despite economic growth of 3.0 percent annualized for the fourth quarter of 2011, incoming data suggest that economic growth slowed during the first quarter of 2012. In line with previous forecasts, Fannie Mae’s (FNMA/OTC) Economic & Strategic Research Group expects growth to slow to slightly more than 2 percent in the first quarter of the year.

    The slowdown in economic growth is not indicative of a significant deterioration in the underlying strength of economic activity, but a fading inventory boost to GDP growth. For all of 2012, the Group expects growth to be modest at 2.3 percent as a number of factors combine to constrain activity, including slow real disposable income growth, which should restrain household spending activity; a very small contribution from net exports; and continued fiscal contraction by the federal government, as well as ongoing cutbacks by state and local governments acting as a drag on growth during the year.

    “Consumer spending continued its upward trajectory with strong spending on autos and other durable goods, and spending on services showing the largest gain in nearly two years,” says Fannie Mae Chief Economist Doug Duncan. “However, the pickup in consumer spending has outpaced income growth, which means that consumers are increasing their spending by borrowing from their savings. Real disposable income has been flat and that needs to change for a higher pace of economic activity to occur.”

    Through the fourth quarter of 2011, residential investment contributed to overall economic growth for the third consecutive quarter, the first time that has occurred since 2005. Recent housing data also indicate some loss of momentum in the first quarter, underscoring the uneven nature of the current housing recovery. However, confidence among consumers improved in March. The Fannie Mae March National Housing Survey shows that 33 percent of Americans expect home prices to increase over the next 12 months, up from 28 percent in February. On the downside, the Group notes a long-term risk to housing concerning federal student loan debt, which has increased dramatically over recent years and may cause a delay in students’ entering the first-time homebuyer market in the future.

    On the employment front, the March employment report showed weakening momentum, as the economy created just 120,000 jobs – less than half of the average monthly gain over the prior three months and the smallest gain in five months. However, the setback in the employment report should not necessarily be interpreted too negatively. Other job-related data continue to show signs of improvement with initial jobless claims hovering near a new low of the recovery at the end of March. Despite the unemployment rate dropping to 8.2 percent, the lowest rate in more than three years, it is not indicative of improving labor market conditions, as the rate was driven by a substantial decline in the labor force. The Group expects the unemployment rate to trend down to about 7.5 percent by the end of 2013, with a monthly average gain of approximately 190,000 jobs during 2012 and slightly stronger gains during 2013.

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  • Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke Predicts Moderate Economic Recovery to Continue

    5:31 pm on July 26, 2010 | Comments:0
    Tags: consumer confidence, , ,   Filed under: Consumer news and advice, economy, The Economy

    By Kevin G. Hall

    RISMEDIA, July 23, 2010—(MCT)—Shrugging off investors’ fears of a double-dip recession and punishing deflation, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke predicted that a moderate U.S. economic expansion is likely to continue despite numerous threats to growth.

    Testifying before the Senate Banking Committee, Bernanke acknowledged that European debt problems are slowing U.S. growth, as is the protracted slump in the U.S. housing sector. He said mounting federal budget deficits must be addressed, but added that government spending is warranted given the lack of private-sector demand for goods and services.

    Bernanke shot down suggestions that his Fed is out of bullets should the economy slide back toward contraction.

    “If the recovery seems to be faltering, then we at least need to review our options. We need to think about possibilities. But, broadly speaking, there are a number of things we could consider,” he said. (More …)

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  • Predictive U.S. National Real Estate Confidence Index Rises 0.70 Percent in June 2010

    8:58 am on June 29, 2010 | Comments:0
    Tags: consumer confidence, , , ,   Filed under: Statistics

    RISMEDIA, June 29, 2010—United States real estate broker and agent forward-looking confidence edged higher in Point2 Technologies’ monthly Real Estate Confidence Index (RECI) survey in June 2010, rising 0.70% to 5.76 on the RECI scale of 1-10, versus last month. Relatively strong long-term optimism sent the Index’s 12-18 month optimism/pessimism variable higher by three percentage points and was the key catalyst behind the upside.

    Current Sentiment, one of the three key Index components that tracks survey respondent views of existing market conditions, dropped by 1.92%, to 5.12 on the 1-10 RECI scale (10 being “Good” and 1 being “Bad”).

    The Short-Term (3-6 months) optimism/pessimism variable rose marginally, by 0.53%, to 5.64. (More …)

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  • Existing-Home Sales Continue to Improve In April 2010

    11:06 am on May 27, 2010 | Comments:0
    Tags: consumer confidence, , , ,   Filed under: Statistics, The Housing Market

    RISMEDIA, May 26, 2010—Existing-home sales rose again in April 2010 with buyers motivated by the tax credit, improving consumer confidence and favorable affordability conditions, according to the National Association of Realtors.

    Existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, increased 7.6% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.77 million units in April from an upwardly revised 5.36 million in March, and are 22.8% higher than the 4.70 million-unit pace in April 2009. Monthly sales rose 7.0% in March.

    Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said the gain was widely anticipated. “The upswing in April existing-home sales was expected because of the tax credit inducement, and no doubt there will be some temporary fallback in the months immediately after it expires, but other factors also are supporting the market,” he said. “For people who were on the sidelines, there’s been a return of buyer confidence with stabilizing home prices, an improving economy and mortgage interest rates that remain historically low.” (More …)

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  • Americans More Likely to Travel, Spend This Year

    4:23 pm on May 20, 2010 | Comments:0
    Tags: consumer confidence, ,   Filed under: Tourism

    RISMEDIA, May 20, 2010—(MCT)—The “staycation” is so last year. Americans who plan to vacation this summer will spend more money and stay away longer than last year, when staying home was more the norm, according to a new survey commissioned by American Express Co.

    Although the percentage of Americans who will travel this summer has remained about the same (51%), of those who will hit the road, 67% will spend more money than they did a year earlier and 74% will take the same length of vacation or longer, according to a survey of 2,000 Americans.

    The survey findings, along with improving hotel occupancy rates and rising demand for airline seats, suggest Americans are loosening their purse strings somewhat on vacation spending, in contrast to the penny-pinching habits of travelers during the economic slump of the past year and a half.

    “The summer vacation, and particularly the family vacation, is alive and well this year,” said Audrey Hendley, vice president of American Express Travel, a division of the credit card company.

    Jason Womack, a consultant from Ojai, Calif., who coaches business executives on efficiency, said he tells clients to take time off work to get a better perspective on business. “What the recession taught me is that even when it looks like the best thing to do is to hunker down with my nose to the grindstone, it’s equally important to lift up, get away and get perspective,” he said.

    After declining for the last two summers, demand for airline travel is expected to rise by about 1% this summer, an increase of 202 million passengers compared with last summer, according to a forecast issued this month by the Air Transport Association of America, the trade group that represents most U.S. airlines.

    Until recently, occupancy rates and average daily room rates had been dropping monthly since October 2008. The hotel industry now expects to see occupancy rates increase 2.2% this summer to 63% compared with last summer, with the average daily room rate rising 1.9% to $95, according to a forecast by Smith Travel Research Inc., a major hospitality industry consultant.

    by Hugo Martin (c) 2010, Los Angeles Times.

    Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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  • Housing construction up 2.8 percent in January

    9:28 am on February 17, 2010 | Comments:0
    Tags: consumer confidence, , , , New Construction,   Filed under: Interest Rates, Statistics, The Economy, The Housing Market



    The Associated Press
    Wednesday, February 17, 2010

    WASHINGTON — Housing construction posted a better-than-expected increase in January which pushed activity to the highest level in six months. The solid gain raised hopes that the construction industry is beginning to mount a sustained rebound from its worst slump in decades.

    The Commerce Department said Wednesday that construction of new homes and apartments rose 2.8 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 591,000 units. That was better than the 580,000 annual pace that economists were forecasting. (More …)

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  • Existing-Home Sales Surge in Most States in Fourth Quarter

    10:50 am on February 16, 2010 | Comments:0
    Tags: consumer confidence, , , , ,   Filed under: Statistics, The Housing Market

    RISMEDIA, February 15, 2010—Strong gains in existing-home sales were the predominant pattern in most states during the fourth quarter, with many more metro areas seeing prices rise from a year earlier, according to the latest survey by the National Association of Realtors®.

    Sales increased from the third quarter in 48 states and the District of Columbia; 32 states saw double-digit gains. Year-over-year sales were higher in 49 states and D.C.; all but three states had double-digit annual increases.

    Total state existing-home sales, including single-family and condo, jumped 13.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.03 million in the fourth quarter from 5.29 million in the third quarter, and are 27.2% above the 4.74 million-unit level in the fourth quarter of 2008. Distressed property accounted for 32% of fourth quarter transactions, down from 37% a year earlier. (More …)

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  • Real Estate Analysts Cautiously Optimistic for 2010

    8:54 am on January 21, 2010 | Comments:0
    Tags: consumer confidence, , ,   Filed under: Buyer Info, Seller Info, The Economy, The Housing Market

     RISMEDIA, January 21, 2010—(MCT)—According to David Crowe, chief economist of the National Association of Home Builders, home builders, mired in their deepest slump since the Great Depression, are likely to see a rebound in sales in 2010 as stabilizing home prices and record-high affordability conditions draw buyers into the market.

    “The stage is set for the consumer to return,” said Crowe. “It won’t be a strong recovery, but it will be a recovery.” Crowe predicts that housing starts will rise more than 25% in 2010, to 700,000 units, from 550,000 in 2009. (More …)

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  • Central London Leads Market Recovery in UK

    11:08 am on January 12, 2010 | Comments:0
    Tags: consumer confidence, ,   Filed under: Buyer Info, Global Affiliates, Mayfair International


    January 12, 2010

    By Nick Churton, Mayfair International Realty

    Since the beginning of 2009 the Central London property market has confounded just about every one involved with it.  The weak pound has attracted overseas buyers who have been absent for some years.  Buyers from France and Italy have been particularly notable.

    But buyers are being choosy.  Locations such as Mayfair, Belgravia, Kensington and Knightsbridge have been especially popular but only the best property examples are generating special interest.  Condition is very important, as is interior finish.  Good is no longer good enough.  Exceptional finish is now the accepted norm if a house or apartment is going to get a top price.  This is the international effect: expectations are high and this is certainly having an influence on how London homeowners modernise and improve their homes. (More …)

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